Monday, 17 August 2009

Live from the Camino Madrid: The best laid plans of mice and men...

I quite like to plan ahead but my walking companero Esteban takes planning to a whole new level. At 6'4" he's the first of the three musketeers mentioned in a previous post a wee while ago. He's also got the sweetest Irish tenor voice and I've accompanied his for many years. Those musical exploits are another story.

I've discovered that having an obsessive planner involved in guide writing is invaluable. For a new guide in English we both been preparing. For me researching the original guide, contacting Javier in Madrid who is active in the local Amigos. Esteban planned the flights, where we would stay in Madrid, the route out of the city, the length of stages and accommodation. He also, as ever, checked the weather forecast many times. It will be a temperate 32 degrees max", he reassured me.

Then 2 days before departure he phoned me from hospital - "in for tests, told to take it easy, time for a life style change" is a summary of the conclusion.

So we've sensibly decided this trip will be a thorough recce for the new guide rather than step by step dictation of every arrow and hostal.

Just as well:

The flight was delayed 2 hours, we didn't get to sleep until after 2am then up at 7.30 am. Then it became clear that the 32 degrees was speculation - when we stopped after about 15kms at Tres Cantos the temperature was registering 42 in the street!

But already it is clear that this is a route full of promise. It is well waymarked and today was entirely off road. We started in the Plaza de Castilla then passing three huge fabulous modern buildings which followed us as we looked back throughout the day.

Then after only 6kms into open countryside. Beautiful. The route follows the wall of the huge walled estate Monte el Pardo, former royal hunting ground and residence of General Franco. It is vast.

As we passed Esteban remarked with typical Glaswegian understatement, " See that Franco guy, he was good to himself."

Well, quite!

I am now about to press "send" and I have no idea if this will work. If it does I'll try to post more in the days to come.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device


  1. Hey Johnnie
    I was happy to see that your Blackberry worked so well for this post. I just got a Blackberry and will start my first Camino in September. I was wondering if the Blackberry would be all that they promised!! Looks great to me.
    And it looks like you are enjoying your journey already.
    Buen Camino

  2. Also glad your Blackberry posting worked and look forward to following your exploits. Great to see you could include a photo as well.